Bookbanter’s Best Reads of 2017

 

Reviews:

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Paradox Bound by Peter Clines

The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson

Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Darkness of Evil by Alan Jacobson

Change Agent by Daniel Suarez

“Paradox Bound” by Peter Clines (Crown, 2017)

paradoxbound

Much like with his previous book The Fold, Peter Clines’s new book, Paradox Bound, sucks you right in from the very beginning as we are introduced to our main character, Eli Teague, who meets a woman three times during his life – as a kid, teen, and adult – while she never seems to age at all. But that’s because she’s a time traveler.

While Eli only saw her for short moments in time over his young life, the woman has become an obsession for him in her steampunked Model-A Ford, as he wonders when she might show up in his life again. He lives in Sanders, a dead-end town that feels like it hasn’t changed a bit in fifty years. When he meets her as an adult, in her now familiar revolutionary garb and tricorne hat, he won’t let her go and finally gets taken under her wing and made her time traveling apprentice.

In this world there are old, forgotten roads that if you ride them just right and skid through at just the right point, you can fall through time. There are a number of these time travelers all with the same goal in mind. They are looking for the American Dream. Because it was stolen during the 1960s. And whoever finds it can fix their life and make this world a better place. The problem is there are also the guardians of the American Dream who are looking to get it back, and will attack anyone traveling through time, because they’re a threat and a risk.

In many ways Paradox Bound might be considered the quintessential American novel, as its characters are all literally searching for the American Dream in a riveting, exciting chase across the country and its history. Clines keeps the pace going and the reader hooked, wanting to know how it’s going to end. For Neil Gaiman fans, Paradox Bound could easily be considered the American Neverwhere, as it is in many ways an equally good novel.

Originally written on November 20, 2017 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Paradox Bound from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

 

“The Fold” by Peter Clines (Crown, 2015)

The Fold
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As we work our way steadily through the 21st century, it feels like the future is here and now, and while we don’t have flying cars or hover boards quite yet, one futuristic invention we really wish existed is teleportation. The idea that you could zap from one country to another in the blink of an eye with no plane involved stirs the mind with excitement. Well, some scientists in Peter Clines’ The Fold may well have done just that, the problem is they have no clue how it really works.

A group of DARPA scientists deep in the California desert have been working on the project for years and it seems they have now made teleportation possible from one Door to another. Each of the scientists have tried it themselves a number of times with no side effects or mishaps, as well as a rigid battery of tests to confirm the machine, known as the Albuquerque Door, works perfectly. The problem is there have been a few anomalous readings, and one person who was visiting to check out the device, went through with no problem, then flew back home and apparently went insane, claiming his wife wasn’t who she said she was.

Mike Erikson is a school teacher in Maine who keeps his life simple and regular and doesn’t like to mention that he’s one of the smartest people on the planet. He has a perfect recall memory and cannot forget a single thing. He needs only to look at a page of information or watch a commercial once and he is able to replay and recall with pinpoint exact detail what he just saw.

Then an old friend at DARPA who has wanted him to come work for them for years finally convinces Mike to join the project. He needs to go check out the Albuquerque Door and make sure there are absolutely no issues so they can start preparing to release the reality of this world-changing invention to the rest of the planet.

In the California desert, Mike will make some new friends and some enemies, he will also learn a lot about the Albuquerque Door and be able to pinpoint its few issues, but getting straight answers out of the scientists is like pulling teeth, that is until he figures out just how the machine works and since the scientists don’t know this information themselves, they are terrified when he tells them.

Reading The Fold gives the reader an extreme thrill, like watching The Matrix, for the first time as the tension and anxiety build, but also the excitement of discovery. Clines does a great job of introducing some interesting characters and then letting them act and react in his world, as the reader learns about the Albuquerque Door. They will be hooked to the very last page, wanting and wondering.

Originally written on May 13, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Fold from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.